Quantifying sleep architecture dynamics and individual differences using big data and Bayesian networks

PLoS One. 2018 Apr 11;13(4):e0194604. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194604. eCollection 2018.


The pattern of sleep stages across a night (sleep architecture) is influenced by biological, behavioral, and clinical variables. However, traditional measures of sleep architecture such as stage proportions, fail to capture sleep dynamics. Here we quantify the impact of individual differences on the dynamics of sleep architecture and determine which factors or set of factors best predict the next sleep stage from current stage information. We investigated the influence of age, sex, body mass index, time of day, and sleep time on static (e.g. minutes in stage, sleep efficiency) and dynamic measures of sleep architecture (e.g. transition probabilities and stage duration distributions) using a large dataset of 3202 nights from a non-clinical population. Multi-level regressions show that sex effects duration of all Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) stages, and age has a curvilinear relationship for Wake After Sleep Onset (WASO) and slow wave sleep (SWS) minutes. Bayesian network modeling reveals sleep architecture depends on time of day, total sleep time, age and sex, but not BMI. Older adults, and particularly males, have shorter bouts (more fragmentation) of Stage 2, SWS, and they transition less frequently to these stages. Additionally, we showed that the next sleep stage and its duration can be optimally predicted by the prior 2 stages and age. Our results demonstrate the potential benefit of big data and Bayesian network approaches in quantifying static and dynamic architecture of normal sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Probability
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes
  • Sleep Stages*
  • Time Factors